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Aren’t We All [Designed on Sunshine]?

I bet you’re wondering what the title of this post means.  Before I get to that, I’d like to thank you for joining me for my second week of blogging!  My first week was great fun and I loved all the feedback.  Keep it coming!!  This week you’re in store for more home updates, spring in the yard, and a sneak peek at our organic veggie garden.

The title of this post comes with a story so hang with me.  One evening a couple of weeks ago, I was having a small issue with setting up my web site.  I phoned my host company and was speaking with a very nice gentleman.  He asked the standard questions to verify I was the owner of the domain.  Once I told him the name, he paused and asked, “Designed on Sunshine?”  I said, “Yes.”  He replied, “I love that name!  Aren’t we all [designed on sunshine]?”  I immediately had a visceral reaction, felt a kinship with this person, and realized people will understand the intent and greater message behind the name.  It was a moment that gave me the warm fuzzies.

Speaking of being designed on sunshine, I’d like to briefly talk about a person who touched hundreds of lives and meant the world to his family.  My grandfather, Papa as we called him, was a sweet and gentle man who told a great story, played a mean banjo, flashed a simple smile that told you how much you meant to him, loved with no judgment or expectation, grabbed life by the reins and took everyone along for the ride.  He passed away in February and the memorial service was held on Sunday, April 15 at Roaring Camp Railroads where he was a conductor in his retirement years.  Roaring Camp was kind enough to allow the family to build a memorial bench that sits at the ticket booth.

To respect the privacy of family members, I won’t go into great detail, but will say with 200+ people in attendance it was a beautiful celebration of his life and the love felt throughout the room was nothing less than other-worldly.  He is already dearly missed but his vivacious zest for life is carried on through his family and friends.  We’ve all soaked up the blessings he’s bestowed upon us.  Because of this, I am a better person for it and will continue to strive to be the best person I can be for my family and friends.

On a final note, this year has been life changing in many ways.  Many friends have married, babies have come into being, two family members have passed.  The circle of life has shown itself to be true more so this particular year.  With the emotional ups and downs of celebrations and deaths it reminds me to take pause.  I envision how I can make a bigger difference in the world; I evaluate relationships and how I can better honor them; and I often think about doing a better job at listening to my heart (instead of the head) to guide me on my journey.

Have a wonderful day!


+ - 1 comment

Designed on Sunshine - Glad you liked it, Bonnie! Thanks for reading!!

Bonnie Gale - How wonderful! can’t wait to read more…

Joni holland - You have made a glorious and wonderful impact on my life. I LOVE this blog. I love YOU Melanie-Moo.xo

Finishing Touches On The Front, Part 2 of 2

Welcome back!  Today’s post wraps up all the finishing touches made to the front of the house.  In case you missed it, here’s the start of the finish!

Diving right in, one of my favorite things we added to the house were the window boxes.  I just love their charm!  I saw the picture below on  and immediately knew this is what I wanted.

Of course the price wasn’t working for me, so off to create the honey-do list I did.  I googled how to build a planter box and found two great articles that are now no longer online.  Sorry I’m unable to share them with you.  However, I did a search today and there are a bunch of articles with many styles of boxes.  You’ll easily be able to find the one you’re wanting to build.

We didn’t spend any money on this project as we used wood we had lying around.  We made sure we drilled drainage holes; placed landscape fabric in the box to keep the dirt off the wood (as much as possible); secured them to the house; and used her advice on how to plant the boxes.  What do you think?

Doesn’t it feel more symmetrical now with the two small (bathroom) windows looking as tall as the (bedroom) window on the left?

Next up, the porch.  We used a liquid concrete cleaner & etcher to rough up the concrete surface to take the stain.  We primed, stained (with a light gray), and then finished with a sealer.  This took a couple of days to complete as we had to wait a few hours inbetween processes and coats.  After that cured, we moved onto the railing.  This was a super simple process and dirt cheap!  For the most part, we followed these instructions.  We lucked out and found a polycarbonate post being clearanced out.  Instead of paying $50, we paid $5.  Score!!!  We used three 2 x4 boards we had lying around, and picked up the stiles for 25 cents each.  We primed and painted everything beforehand to make life easier on us.  The hubby used screws and a nail gun on the stiles.  He screwed in L brackets to attach the 2×4’s to the two posts.  And, ta-da!  Insta-cute porch!  The rockers are from Pier One.  I waited for months for them to go on clearance for $50 each (originally $200 each).

In this last set of pictures, you’ll see our plants in the ground and mulch down.  In a future post I’ll talk more about all the plants.  In the meantime, here’s a few tips for saving money on plants:

◊ If you have a green thumb, start plants from seed.  Yes, it takes longer for your yard to look ‘mature’ but you’ll save a ton of money!

◊ If you’ve been admiring a neighbor’s plant, ask them for a clipping or seed.  Of the times I’ve asked, I’ve never been turned down.  It’s also a great way to start conversation to get to know your neighbors.

◊ Buy plants from nurseries that are growing out of their pots and not looking so fresh.  They are either deeply discounted, or if not, ask for a discount.  Every plant I’ve purchased this way I’ve been able to revitalize with a good hair cut and root trim, and a little TLC.  On average a one gallon pot selling regularly for $9 is discounted and selling for $1 – $2.

◊ Sign up for your local re-use store’s email distribution list.  When you see a deconstruct housing project coming up, ask if the owners are re-landscaping.  If so, pay a visit to that house to see which plants are available for the taking.  In my area they’re always free, but I have to dig them up myself.  The advantage here is that they’re mature plants which’ll add instant impact to your yard.

◊ Every once in a while on craigslist I run into going out of business listings for nurseries or construction companies.  You can get screaming deals from these places.  I got two (over six feet tall) Pink Diamond, tree form, Pee Gee Hydrangeas for $40 each.  In my area, these range between $150-$200 each.  On another venture I picked up some 4’x8′ lattice screens for $10 each (normally $50-75 in my neck of the woods).  You’ll see what I did with these in a later post.

The trick with these tips is to have a tremendous amount of patience while waiting for the deals to come your way.  You also have to be willing to build up your yard little by little versus all at once.  If you’re willing to do both, you can save an incredible amount of money which’ll allow you to take a two week vacation instead of one.  😉



On a side note, we’ll eventually replace our front door with this and our garage door similar to this, not exact.  Can’t wait for those changes!!

Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday!


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Designed on Sunshine - Thank you!!

Amy Holmes Davis - I love your beautiful window boxes! Also loved the money saving tips on plants. 🙂

Barbara Rigg - Melanie, this is a wonderful site!

Designed on Sunshine - Oh my gracious! How did you see this post already? I’m not done with it and it’s not supposed to post until Friday! Eek! I’ve been having some technical issues with the scheduling of posts. Today’s post is supposed to be ‘You’re Painting Your House Yourself?’

Joni Marie Holland - Great flower combos in the window boxes!